Presenteeism - the corporate disease of the 21st century

Service Business

When the autumn and then the winter period begins, advertising blocks attack the audience with a huge number of admiration for miraculous drugs and dietary supplements. Vitamins and minerals for immunity, warming drinks to cure the flu after just one day, wonderful pills to eliminate a sore throat, so as not to worry about angina. No wonder - such healing remedies to get rid of the disease after just a few hours are sought by workers more than the philosopher's stone or the lost Atlantis - after all, you can't miss a working day because of such a trivial thing as poor health. If this applies to you - be careful! These are the first signs of presenteeism!

Presenteeism: Present - Anytime, Anywhere

Until recently, more honest doctors complained about attempts to extort sick leave. Such practice allowed the employee to obtain a few days of additional leave, which could be spent on rest, trip or - in the case of the largest "combiners" - to work for a few days in casual work and earn an extra few pennies. The practice is extremely unfair and unfavorable to good relations with employers - there is no doubt about that.

However, physicians are now less and less asked for a false L4, and moreover, they are urged not to issue it, even in justified cases. The employee goes to the test, is given an antibiotic and goes back - no, not to bed - to the office. The fear of losing a salary, losing a bonus or responsibility, or even a job is stronger than concern for your own health. A black script straight from Huxley's Brave New World? Unfortunately not - the everyday life of many people.

The tendency to come to work with the disease is so common that specialists became interested in it, giving it the name of presenteeism, derived from the English word present, i.e. present. A sick employee decides to come to work, in which at best he will spend the traditional eight hours working simply less efficiently, and at worst - he will sit them completely unproductively, glancing at his watch and infecting all co-workers. So is being at work at all costs really the best idea?

Absence or germs - costs for the employee and the employer

A sick employee who comes to work is a product of an equally sick system of values ​​that applies in today's world. The most popular theory of needs - the Maslow's pyramid, created in the mid-twentieth century, assumes that a person should first satisfy the most basic needs, gradually moving to those of a higher degree.

What did Maslow take as the basis? Physiological needs - i.e. sleep, food, rest, health, stress-free and tension-free. Then it gradually moved to the need for security, love and belonging, and only then - to the need for respect, recognition and self-realization. Ergo, according to this theory, it can be assumed that health matters first, and only then professional career, thanks to which professional plans are implemented.

Unfortunately, at present this system of values ​​has been significantly reformulated - the high level of unemployment, high employment and training costs, requirements that cannot be met in job offers mean that work is no longer a method of gaining funds for living and favorite activities, or even bringing fulfillment. the path of self-realization - now work is a goal in itself that must be fought hard for. Therefore, employees do everything to maintain their position and therefore more and more workaholics and presenters among us.

Does coming to work with sick people really benefit more than going on sick leave? It is worth considering the profits and losses resulting from absenteeism and presenteeism, and to be objective - both from the point of view of the employee and the employer.

So - a sick employee comes to work. What is gaining? In fact, he doesn't actually gain, he just doesn't lose. Part of the salary (it is worth remembering that the salary on leave is 80% of the normal salary, which for many can really affect the budget), bonuses, positions. It may seem that the employer will also understand the employee's illness - while disturbingly, there are often cases of negative assessment of an employee who uses L4. The explanations of people who go to work instead of lying in bed are somewhat less frightening because no one will do their job for them, and they feel responsible for it. However, creating a design at 38 degrees temperature still cannot be entirely efficient.

What will the employee gain by staying at home? It is obvious - the rest he deserves and the possibility of spending his illness in comfortable conditions (feeling bad enough anyway). It is also minimizing the risk of complications - an untreated flu can turn not only into another cold, but even into serious complications, e.g. heart work. Unfortunately, then it is too late for the weekly L4, and long-term treatment may be necessary - that is, the words of Jan Kochanowski about the fact that noble health, no one will know how you taste until you go bad.

What are the benefits and what losses will the presenter bring to his employer? The presence at the workplace is theoretically a plus. However, in fact, a sick employee does not perform his tasks as when he is in good shape. According to the opinions of specialists, delays and difficulties in carrying out tasks can reach up to 60% of the normal pace of work. What's more, with a fever or sore throat, it is much more difficult to focus, which results in more frequent mistakes and mistakes. It is also worth remembering that diseases like to spread, so don't be surprised if the entire crew suddenly starts coughing or sneezing. And the less effective overall staff is a real problem (moreover, some of them may still appreciate L4).

And what does an employee who decides to dismiss mean for an employer? Obviously, absenteeism means that certain tasks will not be completed or will burden the rest of the team. However, it can be assumed that proper treatment and rest will allow the patient to get back on his feet faster, which means that he will be able to return to his duties after, for example, three days (despite the popular saying that an untreated runny nose lasts a week, and treated seven days - the rule this is unlikely to apply to more severe diseases).

It is obvious that the golden measure would be not to get sick, and just as obvious - that we do not get sick especially and it is often impossible to avoid getting sick. What, then, to minimize the costs of sick leave, and thus reduce the ever-increasing prevalence of presenteeism?

Presenteeism - How to Treat When Prevention Is No Longer?

Therefore, since presenteeism, more and more widely practiced by employees, is not the best idea for fighting the disease, it would be good to take action in the company to prevent it from appearing in the company. Importantly, the entire responsibility cannot be passed on to the employer - a great potential in this matter also lies with the employees.

First of all, it is worth ensuring that the disease of one person does not significantly affect the activities of the entire team or company. It is quite easy to do this in the case of lower-level line employees, while the higher the indisposed employee is placed in the hierarchy, the more difficult it will be to comprehensively perform their tasks. Still, such an action is not impossible, even if it is a bit more difficult. It is worth ensuring, for example, the division of the most important duties among other competent people, leaving projects that are not urgent for later. An increasingly used solution is also remote work - even if a sick employee will only work in this way a few hours a day. In the case of longer absences, it is also worth considering a replacement employee - although in such a situation the employer will incur the costs of employing an additional person, but they may turn out to be disproportionate to the costs of neglecting the projects of the absent permanent employee. Moreover, the serious entrepreneur must be able to anticipate such situations and have a certain margin of funds for unforeseen difficulties.

What can an employee do? First of all - not to let work take over his whole life and become more important than everything else, including health. This seems difficult, especially for those who have the responsibility of supporting their family and who cannot afford to lose their jobs. However, even in these gray realities, you can try to establish a healthy balance between your work and the rest of your life.